Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Feet in the High Sierra

Mark met me down south and we hit the trail out of Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. We went in only a short distance to meet up with family and friends who already had a base camp all set up. From this locale we had opportunity for lovely day hikes and a beautiful spot to just laze in the sun. Here is a little bit of our trip via pictures.

Back to the cars and civilization.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

They're Off

We have been very busy. It is that time of the year when the grass begins to turn golden and our cattle get gathered up. The largest animals that have spent almost 2 years running around these hills get taken in to the local USDA meat processing facility to stock up ours and our neighbors' freezers and then the calves that all look similarly are taken to our local auction yard and the calves that don't quite look like the others stay on the ranch to be next year's grass finished animals. I really don't care for this aspect of raising cattle. Not at all. I feel like the child control guy in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, who drove around claiming he was giving away candy only to slam the cage bars into place when they believed him. But I use sweet smelling and tasting alfalfa in the back of my little orange Kubota for the bait. Sometimes the cattle follow me for miles. I always give them a lot of hay when I catch them though, it eases my conscious. Silly me.

This time we used a little horse backup a few times to keep them together and moving, it helped speed up the process a little. I also used a horse to get in a little calf that inadvertently got locked on the outside of the corrals. It was fun and I think my little mare Stormy had done this work sometime before in her life. It is a good thing she is a short horse because we had to rip through a thicket of trees to cut off the little bugger. Yee Haw! One branch almost scraped me off, but we did it and next year we are going to try to be real cow folks and use our horses more in gathering. Horses seem to make it more fun. We all still agree that driving the Kubota still works best though and our two resident cowboys for the summer, Tater and Eric the Bold, used the Kubota to finish finding a few strays after I left the ranch. Yep, I left them on the 12:30 bus heading south. It felt good to leave right in the middle of the week I dread most.

I sit right now on my sister's computer in a major city after spending a successful day shopping with our daughter for a wedding dress. Successful because we all cried when she put the right one on. It is a romantic, classic, yet old fashioned dress in a champagne color that really put a beautiful glow to her skin, with a pick up skirt (if you know what that is, which I didn't!). Timeless.

Mark called to tell me Flower looks to be going into labor, so hopefully he will post some photos as soon as she delivers her kidds. She is so humongous and she waddles around and looks terribly uncomfortable.

The colt's name is Sequoyah, for those of you who might not have figured it out from Mark's clues in the previous post, and he is a wonderful colt. He is very friendly and curious and gentle. He loves to be brushed and scratched and have his little bitty feet picked up.

It is hard for me to be away from the ranch, but so much harder for me to be away from my honey. We are two in one and to separate feels like losing a part of myself... soon my daughter will enter into such a sacred union too. She'll be blessed.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

... a name to grow into...

I awoke this morning surrounded by the wispy remnants of a dream. I rarely am aware of my dreams, so I still have a vivid impression of this one, ethereal though it was. A fatherly figure in buckskin and braids and with a single white feather in his hair gently reminded me that " a boy needs a name he can grow into." I recognized this man from an internet search I had run the evening before... distinguished. Famous, even. He invented an alphabet for the language of his people, fought on the American side in the war of 1812, and died while searching for and trying to reconcile with an estranged branch of his family. Because of him, the Bible was transtated into his native tongue, and many of the legends and stories of his people are remembered today. A natural wonder of nature, which I see daily, is named after him, as is a world heritage site. And now, my colt. Can you guess his name? Sorry to A.J. and the throng who love the name Flynn... This horse has a large helping of "native spirit". A.J. , please accept our offer of a day at the ranch; swimming, fishing, riding, hiking, touring, picniking, etc. Come meet the colt in person, and enjoy some So. Hum. sunshine! mark

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Suggestions For Colt's Name

Thanks for all your names, here is the list thus far. I tried out Flynn today and he came right to me. Seems like he likes AJ's suggestion, but he came to Fritz too. Maybe he likes the hard F sound or maybe he just likes to be scratched on his back. He really is a princely little fellow. If you aren't tired of this game, pick your favorite from this list. Only one, though you could combine two into one!

Doc Hudson
Jay Jay
Sugar Foot
Mark Jr (MJ for short)
Fritz (his great grandpa is King Fritz)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Colt Needs Name

We are still trying to find a name for our new colt. We have asked everyone who has been out at the ranch and we even took a photo to the farmers' market to try and find the perfect name. So far we have had the suggestions of: Apollo, Geronimo, Domino, Gus, Scout, Pete, and Spotty. I personally kind of like Scout, Mark kind of likes Geronimo. He says he would call him Mo for short. Of course then you might have the whole confusion of MO WHOA and MO GO and probably a lot of MO NO for this little guy, while as friendly as can be, already is showing signs of a strong personality. The other day his ma was eating a flake of hay on the ground and he was pawing at it and nibbling a little and I walked over to give him a pet and he shoved his little butt at me and sort of worked at pushing me away. Of course, I didn't let him, but still... fiesty little fellow. And he also loves to take off running full speed away from the others leaping with abandon across little streams while his mom runs frantically to cut him off and slow him down. (I can remember this with my youngest!) It is really funny though and full of joy. If you have any ideas for a name we would love to hear them. Thanks.